Review of "Hardt Regn"

OK, so here is my fully objective (huaahahaha *lol*) review of Skambankt's "Hardt Regn".

Guess I should start by mentioning that I already loved the album before it was out - some songs had been played on the radio before the release, and while I wasn't entirely convinced by all of them, I fell in love with some songs right away. The first time I heard them. The first time I heard the first ten seconds, actually.

Then I finally got the album and didn't really have the time to listen to it. Gnaah! =:-( But: The songs are SO catchy! There were four songs that I hadn't heard at all before. I managed to listen to them only twice the first night. And the next day at work, I suddenly had a tune in my head. And yep, it was of one of the new songs! And no, it's not only one song, but all of them are really really catchy. This is not an album you have to listen to over and over again to finally like it. Listen to it and decide - I loved it right away, and I think it's hard not to... =;-)

But of course, there are some downsides as well. For me it is mostly the sound. I assume it is meant to be like this, and Skambankt announced before the release already that they wanted to make this album a bit "dirty". And it does fit some of the songs very nicely! But then, there are others where I would hope for a cleaner sound. Or at least a sound where you can hear the different instruments instead of just "noise". And that's what I hoped for when going from the bad radio recordings to the real album. And yes, it got better (of course *g*). But with some songs, I was a bit disappointed, 'cause they could have been even better...

But let's go into the different songs now:

1) Vå Bør: I love the beginning (that I couldn't really hear in the radio recording, of course), and here the sound is very clear and transparent. The "thunder drums" fit perfectly, and the dark second voice gives me goose bumps. It's a great opening song.

2) Kom Hell: The song I cared least about after hearing it on the radio. It's catchy, I like the lyrics, but it didn't quite make it into my top list, not sure why. But it's gonna be fun live! And this is one of the songs where the mushy sound fits very well.

3) Løgnprofitør: I knew this one from the last tour, and it's massive and powerful on the record. The guitars are nice and clear, but what about bass and drums? Just noise, listen to the bass solo... that should be clear and precise, not so fuzzy. Still, great song!

4) Det Tar Tid: Hmm. Gnaah. Let me say this first: By now I love the song. But the first thought was: Wait, something is wrong here. The voice sounds weird. Is he... singing?!? It definitely took some time to get used to it, and I'm still not sure if it fits. It's groovy, it's nice, but it's not Skambankt, somehow... =:-/ And it's pretty mushy again, but the bass is much better than on Løgnprofitør.

5) O Dessverre: Can't really say anything here - I heard this song so often before I got the album that I always skip it now. I loved it when I first heard it though, and I still like it a lot - but I know it already. =;-)

6) Feil: Argh. The lyrics are great, the song in itself is nice, and the chorus is DAMN catchy. But hey - the chorus is stadion pop! Not even stadion rock, which would be excusable. But... argh. Well, of course I'm singing along, of course it's gonna be a lot of fun live, and the lyrics! But I don't want to like it. Matter of principle.

7) Trygge Rammer: Kaizers! Sorry to mention that, but this is a Kaizers song. It would fit perfectly on Maskineri. Just imagine Janove singing it... It's a great song, in any case! And of course Terje's vocals turn it into a Skambankt song, but still... this is creepy. =;-) But I love it, and the sound is absolutely okay as well.

8) Slukk Meg (For Eg Brenner): That was the song that I fell in love with after the first few seconds. And it's still my absolute favorite. Not only from the album. This song is perfect! =:-) But only the song. =:-( It was the first one I listened to on the album, because the sound was so bad on the radio. And I expected a crystal clear sound on the album, where you could hear each guitar, very precisely. And I was disappointed. It's just noise and fuzz. =:-( Can't kill the song, but it could have been even better... (However, that would have left me jumping around each time I hear it, so my neighbours are probably kinda thankful... *g*)
Oh, and apart from that: Anybody else thinking of Bloodhound Gang at the line "Der kan me gjør som de gjør i alle filmene"? =;-)

9) Malin: See O Dessverre - I've heard this song so often that I can't really write anything about it. Nice Christmas bells at the beginning. =;-)

10) Når Du Ber Din Nød: Yeah! Number two, right after Slukk Meg. =:-D And the same criticism: Everything is fuzzy and not clear. Could be even better... Apart from that: Great lyrics, great music, and a rhythm in the beginning that I can't figure out. The end is the best, when the music (the noise =:-() stops and Terje starts again all alone with "Eg tenker mest på hevnen som e søt" and then the band comes in again. I want that song at the concerts!

11) Tanker Som Mareritt: This is the song where the dirty sound fits best. A weird moment for me at the beginning when the song suddenly reminds me of a song of Die Toten Hosen (one of their worst, by the way...). Nice song, but not my absolute favorite. And I expected the song to go on for much longer in the end - so I wasn't really surprised when the song "came back".

So, all in all, lots of great songs! The sound could be better, but the catchy songs make up for it. And I'm REALLY look forward to the concerts now!

Review of "Søvnløs"

OK, the album has been out for three weeks now, time to write up my opinion about it. Hmm... I have to admit I find it a bit hard to make up my mind this time. Yes, I like the album (of course). Did I fall in love with it right away? No, definitely not. Did I fall in love with it at all? Not sure. Not really, I think. For some reason that I can't quite figure out, Søvnløs seems a bit like a "collection of songs" to me, not like an album. I definitely fell in love with some of the songs - but unlike the other albums, this didn't happen right away. It took some time. This might be because this time, I only had the songs in the beginning, and I didn't get the lyrics until a week later - and no, my Norwegian still isn't good enough to understand the lyrics just by listening. =;-) So after a week, I basically knew the songs but had no clue what they were about; and when I finally got the CD, I started making up my mind all over again. My perceptions changed for some of the songs, but not for all.

But let's look at the songs now:

Kaos, så inferno: The album starts out with a strong déjà-vu moment. Wait, did I pick the wrong album...? Oh, no, it's not Datarock's "Bulldozer" after all. =;-) Datarock were first, but I guess they didn't file a patent on starting a song with D major. *g* Anyway: Great start for the album! I was a bit startled when I heard a live recording of the song long before the album came out, but I was relieved already when I heard a "real" live version of the song at Rått og Råde. Absolutely approved - it rocks, it's a great starter, a good title track, it works out live. Thumbs up!

Jesus av vår tid: "Nope. No real melody." - that's what I wrote down after listening to the song for the first time. Or actually for the second time - 'cause I had also heard the song at the release party. That time, I couldn't even figure out what song it was until I asked, and I didn't remember anything about it afterwards. And that opinion didn't change much. In my opinion, it's the weakest song on the album. Reading the lyrics didn't help much; maybe I just can't relate to it.

Mantra: The weakest song of the album followed by the strongest. It is kinda unusual that the first single of the album is also the best song on the album, but this time I think it is. This is just a great rock song. What I find really interesting is that it seems that only THIS version really works. I hated the bluegrass version on the radio, I was absolutely unimpressed by the live version on Lydverket - but Skambankt managed to put the perfect version of the song on the album.

Amnesti: I really like the song - except for the stupid "whohoo" in the beginning. Ey, come on, what is that?! A little trip back to the 80s? Gaaah... but yeah, the rest of the song is nice, the lyrics are great, so I guess I have to live with that.

En lang strek: This is one of the songs that grew on me when I finally read the lyrics. The beginning of the song is great - slowly building up, then the driving eighths, then the climax. Or wait, what climax? I didn't notice any chorus, no culmination. So basically the song builds up and leads nowhere... It does fit with the lyrics, so that's why the song grew for me. But at first, it seemed a bit "pointless", and I still think it's one of the weaker songs. I could imagine though that it could work live, with a solo part as climax.

Nattergal: This one went from "what the heck?!" to my favorite on the album (not counting Mantra, 'cause I've known that one much longer). I loved the beginning right away but couldn't really make anything out of the rest of the song, and I had no clue what it was about. But even before I read the lyrics, it started to grow. This is just the kind of music I love - maybe a little too complicated, that's why it did take some time. When I read the lyrics, I entirely fell for the song. Now I just hope they'll manage to play that song live. Won't be easy, but... pleeeaaaase? =:-D

Født på ny: Hrmpf. OK, I admit, I was really scared of the first Skambankt ballad. Then I heard it at the release party, was SHOCKED about the piano, but I had to put up my thumb afterwards and totally approve it. It is a great song! And it stuck, I was still humming it three days later, without having heard it again. Then, after a few more rounds (here the lyrics weren't a problem, that one's easy to understand), I loved and hated it at the same time. Loved because it's just an awesome song, period. Hated because... oh, come on? It's just so clichéd. Give me every first line, and I'll tell you which word I don't want to see rhymed in the second line - and I'd see all of them. And that really makes me not want to like the song. Even though I do. Does that make sense? Not sure... I guess you could say that the song is just too "perfect". It would need some rough edges. But then, it sticks. You'll never get it out of your head again. And you don't want to, either...

Berlin: Yay! The only song on the album that I listened to one time and said "yes, I love it". I had no clue what it is about (I still don't really, I admit *g*), but it's great. Great drive, great melody, danceable, sticky. And: Kaizers. (Anybody else who was reminded of D-Dagen in the beginning?) So Terje wrote his second Kaizers song after Trygge rammer. *g*

Kvelertak!: OK, I don't really get it why you would write a song about a specific band - about "some" band, okay, but mentioning the members? I just don't get it. But well, I didn't understand any of the lyrics in the beginning anyway. =;-) I would have expected the song to be faster and more punk, actually, and the chorus has a pretty weird melody. However, the song did grow on me quite a bit, and it will be a great song live.

Retrett: Hmm, not sure about this one. Nice melody, nice lyrics, but everything... just "nice". No more, no less. I tend to skip it, without really knowing why.

So, anybody still reading? After all the criticism? =;-) I guess it sounds much more negative than how it's meant. Because of course I really like the album, it's stuck in the player; but as die-hard fan it's just natural to criticize a lot, because everything that is not absolutely perfect is bad. Or something like that. =;-)

Overall, I'd give the album a rating of 4/6, which is in agreement to most of the reviews that are out.

But to put it in perspective: Here's my ordering of the songs, best to worst. Everything up to and including Kaos så inferno actually counts as "really great", the next two songs are "good", and Jesus av vår tid is "okay". =;-)

Mantra
Nattergal
Berlin
Kvelertak
Født på ny
Amnesti
Kaos, så inferno
En lang strek
Retrett
Jesus av vår tid